Martellus Bennett decided to draw instead of sit.
But the Green Bay Packers tight end essentially joined his brother, Michael, and other NFL players who have not stood for the national anthem before games this preseason.
Martellus said last week that he believes athletes should use their platform to have a voice on social matters.
On the eve of the Packers’ preseason game at Washington on Saturday, Bennett posted his own political cartoon on his Instagram account.
The cartoon, which is dedicated to his brother, shows two black players at a podium. One has a crowd of reporters around him and is being told what to say to promote a product or products. The other has a sign that says “BLM” -- for Black Lives Matter -- and has a smaller crowd of reporters, one of whom says, "Stick to sports."
Here's my first political cartoon. Dedicated to my brother @mosesbread72 and all of the other athletes using their platform to promote change. As I've been saying it seems as if "you can use the platform provided to promote products but not to promote change to the products of your environment." I've read a lot of the hate mail and comments sent to my brother as well as the ones sent to me. This illustration is how I feel about it all. here's to those willing to risk it all to promote change. #martyland #theimaginationagency #createdbymarty
“I feel like, for me at this point, for me, when you’re fighting a war, there’s many battles,” Martellus Bennett told reporters after Saturday night’s game. “My brother is fighting one battle, and I’m on a different end of the spectrum fighting a different battle, but we’re in the same war. Just different things we’re doing right now.”
He also said the cartoon was another way to bring attention to social activism because not everyone pays attention to what players do during the national anthem.
“I mean, I look around the national anthem, you still have people selling beers and ... and all kinds of s--- going on,” Bennett said. “It’s not like everybody is standing there at attention, looking at the flag when the national anthem is going on. You have people doing all kinds of s---. People yelling at you, trying to get a picture of you. ... I think people do miss the point. But every day, anything you do when you have a good purpose of whatever it is that you do, it doesn’t really matter. Most people won’t get it. You just have to keep plugging away, keep chugging away, and eventually change will happen.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effort -- effort. It takes a lot of change. It takes one person to sit down. Rosa Parks sits down, change happens. Things just come along and it evolves over time. I think guys are doing a lot of different things, a lot of different battles, a lot of different things in the same war. At the end of the day, I think change will come not only for the black players, but white players. The entire world wants to see the world become a better place. I think everyone is starting to get more involved and trying to look at it more so as, 'What can I do to do my part and how can I help out?' I think that’s one of the coolest things right now.”
No Packers players made any kind of protests during the national anthem on Saturday night, even after general manager Ted Thompson made it sound like he wouldn’t have a problem if any of his players did.
"I view this as something that you’re asking me from a personal standpoint -- not what I would do, but what I would feel about a particular player if he made such-and-such action or if he failed to make such-and-such action,” Thompson said last week. “This is a free country, in my opinion, and free people can do what they like."